Curled mag-film has been a problem over the years. The solution I saw first-hand was a varient on my 
gauze-in-the-headcan method I use for badly curled magnetic tape. A Westrex head box needs a bit 
more radical solution than a gauze pad, but it's the same idea. It works. It's not good for the head 
over long periods, but it works.

Sondor is the machine I was thinking of, I'm pretty sure. The solution I've seen pictured is a good 
idea and would allow for much more precise tensioning, just enough back-pressure to compensate for 
the curl tension, so the film rides flat against the head.

Of coure when you talk magnetic film, you're talking Hollywood vaults, so there is money out there 
to fund development of some very clever solutions.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Scott D. Smith" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 2:18 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Everest masters

That's pretty much what I thought the case would be. As you mention,
though, the balance may not be in line with what the head tones are.

The machine you are referring to is a Sondor, with a modified
headblock. It's interesting to note that we designed a similar
headblock for a couple of our dubbers back in 1997 to address the film
to head contact problems related to warped base material (I think ours
is a somewhat different composition from the Sondor roller, though).
Too bad I didn't patent it....


Scott D. Smith
Chicago Audio Works, Inc.

Quoting Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>:

> I think the Command 3-channel spread would be similar to what RCA or
> Mercury 3-channel spread is. In other words, left right and middle.
> They key would be, would the reissuing engineer and producer understand
> how to balance them so the 3-channel product would sound natural? It's
> not necessarily as simple as setting uniform levels to head tones, but
> sometimes it really is that simple with a minimum-mics recording.
> Command was recorded with more than 1 mic per channel in some cases but
> the spread was still the same idea -- a natural width and balance of
> the orchestra. So I don't think it's necessarily not what the producers
> intended, as long the natural balance and spread was maintained.
> The Command films I know about first-hand about are not in good shape,
> but could be transferred using one of those machines -- I believe built
> in Switzerland -- that push the film against the head with a pressure
> pad. I am not sure how much of the total catalog survives to this day.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Scott D. Smith" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 3:00 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Everest masters
> Mark:
> That pretty much confirms what I had heard second-hand. Too bad that
> someone along the way didn't realize the value of them and put them
> into archival containers.
> It would be interesting to hear some of these recordings in their
> original three channel form (even though that's not what Robert Fine
> and the producers had necessarily intended). It's just tragedy that
> they weren't cared for.
> I hope that you were able to make some decent transfers, as my guess
> is they won't stand many more.
> --Scott
> Scott D. Smith
> Chicago Audio Works, Inc.
> Quoting Mark Jenkins <[log in to unmask]>:
>> Scott,
>> The Everest 35mm masters were in VERY poor condition.  The storage
>> containers we received them in were decades old, rusty, and the
>> vinegaring process had already started in many of them.  They were
>> immediately transferred to new stable containers; however, I have been
>> unable to locate a few of the tapes that evidently (from what I have
>> been told) had already deteriorated beyond retrieval prior to our
>> purchase of them.
>> As for the other portions of the catalogue, certain areas (such as the
>> Fine Arts Quartet recordings) were actually in fair condition, and many
>> of these have already been transferred, and will eventually appear on
>> digital retail sites such as  We're still in the process
>> of getting through all of the material in order to make it available
>> again in disc-on-demand, as well as digital (and in some cases CD)
>> formats.
>> Mark
>> Mark Jenkins
>> President, Licensing Division
>> Madacy Entertainment LP/Countdown Media
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Scott D. Smith
>> Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 1:39 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Project 3 masters
>> Mark,
>> Fascinating. I would be most interested in knowing what you find in
>> the Project 3 catalog.
>> What kind of condition were the Everest masters in? They have really
>> gotten bounced around over the years...
>> --Scott
>> Scott D. Smith
>> Chicago Audio Works, Inc.
>> Quoting Mark Jenkins <[log in to unmask]>:
>>> Scott/Tom,
>>> We actually represent the current owners of the Project 3 catalogue,
>> SPJ
>>> Music, for licensing.  We have not exploited this particular catalogue
>>> as of yet (as our initial interest was in the Vox catalogue, which is
>>> also owned by them).  I'm in the process of getting a list of the type
>>> of masters in the archive still extant (multi-channel, 35mm, quad,
>>> etc.).  Presently, the masters for these are in storage in
>>> Massacheusetts.  I do not, as of yet, have a good handle on the
>>> condition of these, but will update you when known.
>>> Mark Jenkins
>>> President, Licensing Division
>>> Madacy Entertainment LP/Countdown Media
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Scott D. Smith
>>> Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 5:54 PM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] 35mm magnetic film as a music-master recording
>>> method
>>> Tom,
>>> To the best of my knowledge, Command stopped using 35mm as a recording
>>> medium after Enoch Light sold the label to ABC Records in 1965. ABC
>> then
>>> sold it to MCA, who promptly relegated it to the trash heap of
>>> re-issues. A sad story...
>>> Richard Gradone did a doctoral dissertation on the career of Enoch
>> Light
>>> and his record labels while at NYU in 1980. I have never read it, so I
>>> don't know if it might contain any pertinent information or not.
>>> I have only a few Project 3 original releases. I know that "Patterns
>> in
>>> Sound" series was done on 35mm, but after that, I'm really not sure.
>>> There is also the entire catalog of Project 3 quad releases, which I
>>> assume were probably done on 4 track tape, but could have been
>> recorded
>>> on 35mm 4 track mag as well.
>>> In general, the recordings that Enoch Light did under the Command
>> label
>>> were considered by many to be both artistically and technically
>> superior
>>> to the Project 3 releases, which had arrangements which were tended to
>>> be less interesting than those that were done under the Command label.
>>> In general, they didn't sell as well as the Command releases did.
>>> I have no idea what Essex is doing with the current catalog, or even
>>> where the masters are. My guess is that they are probably in about the
>>> same condition as the Everest masters.
>>> The only other possible release I can think of might be the 1957
>>> (Stokowski) version of "Fantasia", release by Walt Disney under the
>>> Buena Vista label. Sadly, the original 1939 recording has been lost to
>>> time, having been recorded on 35mm nitrate film, and later transferred
>>> to 3 track magnetic film over a jury-rigged class A phone line
>>> arrangement in 1955. Despite this, Terry Porter managed to clean it up
>>> fairly well for the 1980 re-release.
>>> There were also a number of other movie soundtracks which were done on
>>> 35mm mag for film release, some which ran simultaneous session tapes.
>> I
>>> know a few scoring mixers who worked in Hollywood during the early
>>> seventies. They have told me that practices varied from session to
>>> session. Some would run tape and film, others were done only on film
>>> (usually four track or six track), and later mixed to a 2 track tape
>>> master for album release. Since liner notes seldom contained these
>>> details, they are probably lost to time. Nearly every mixer I've
>> spoken
>>> to has preferred the quality of the mag film masters over those done
>> on
>>> tape. This is probably primarily due to the faster speed of the film
>>> (equivalent to 18 IPS), thicker oxide formulations, and wider track
>>> configuration (150 mil for 3 track, 100 mil for 6 track).
>>> Nearly all the mag film that I have worked with from the mid-1950's
>>> through the late 60's has suffered from some degree of VS, some much
>>> more so than others. Even film that has been stored in decent vault
>>> conditions has suffered, primarily due to the fact that most of it has
>>> been stored in sealed film cans, which doesn't allow for venting of
>> the
>>> film. Most of the films also suffer from various degrees of base warp,
>>> which makes for a difficult situation when it comes to maintaining
>>> film-to-head contact.
>>> Scott D. Smith
>>> *Chicago Audio Works, Inc.*
>>> Tom Fine wrote:
>>>> Hi All:
>>>> I'm cookin' up some research here and I figured I throw a few
>>>> questions out to the group. The topic: the use of 35mm mag-film as
>> the
>>>> main recording medium for music albums.
>>>> 1. As far as I can tell, before Everest Records started using 35mm to
>>>> do classical music recording sessions, the only prior use of 35mm as
>>>> an album-recording or album-mastering medium was a few cases of
>>>> film-soundtrack albums where the LP master was cut right from the
>> 35mm
>>>> soundtrack magnetic master. I think RCA issued a few of these early
>> in
>>>> the LP era but I'm not positive those were from 35mm magnetic masters
>>>> (they might have been from optical masters from pre-magnetic film
>>>> days). Any specific pre-Everest titles would be most appreciated.
>>>> Everest's use of mag-film was circa 1959-60.
>>>> 2. The mag-film trend was short-lived, I think. As far as I can tell,
>>>> by 1964 or so, only Command Records was still regularly making 35mm
>>>> mag-film masters for music albums. Any information on other labels
>>>> aside from Command and Project 3 regularly using 35mm as their
>>>> recording and mastering medium in the mid-60's would be appreciated.
>>>> The last Mercury Living Presence film sessions were 1963. Mercury's
>>>> pop Perfect Presence series ended in late 1961, if I recall
>> correctly.
>>>> 3. By the late 60's, I think only Enoch Light's Project 3 Records was
>>>> still regularly recording and/or mastering to 35mm. If anyone has
>>>> information different from this, I'd be most appreciative if they'd
>>>> share it. I think Project 3 continued to use 35mm regularly into the
>>>> early 70's, even creating 4-track quad masters. But I don't have any
>>>> specifics about that era and Project 3, so any additional information
>>>> is greatly appreciated.
>>>> For those shy and/or discreet, please feel free to ping me off-list
>>>> and thank you in advnace.
>>>> Thanks!
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>> The information in this email is confidential and may be legally
>> privileged.
>>> Access to this email by anyone other than the addressee is
>> unauthorized.
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>> ****
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